In 2018, Detroit-based General Motors (GM) delivered 8.4 million vehicles and generated a revenue of $147 billion. Along with that, the vehicle manufacturing giant quietly filed a patent for a new navigation map system in October 2018. And that is making noise now as US Patent & Trademark Office officially released it on April 2.
According to the Patent Application number 20200103233, the blockchain-based navigation map system that General Motors envisions will be dynamic. It will also have features like regular auto-updates. Moreover, it is likely to bring down the cost of maintaining such a navigation system. Essentially, the system will gather the vehicle sensor data using blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT). This data will be handy in developing a detailed map for autonomous cars.
The existing navigation map system is also dynamic but its maintenance happens via specialized vehicles. Effectively, the system incurs more cost and remains restricted to only a few parts of the world.
According to the patent, General Motors aims to distribute the map maintenance process to many different vehicles. As these vehicles drive around, they will gather real-time data using sensors.
There will be a discrepancy detector in place to check and compare this real-time data against the existing maps. The DLT, if it detects any differences, will record it as a candidate transaction. If the other autonomous vehicles feed similar changes, the transaction will stand validated. This will result in real-time updates in the maps, thereby improving the overall navigation system.
The autonomous vehicles and mining nodes will manage the DLT network residing in the data center.
Benefactors: autonomous vehicles
GM’s latest patent is set to benefit the autonomous vehicles in a clear cut way. Previously, they had applied for another patent depicting a DLT model that would store all the data of autonomous cars.
There is an expectation that this DLT-backed navigation system will especially benefit GM’s “Super Cruise” feature. This feature is already available in GM’s luxury models with a semi-automated driving experience. As these systems require aggressive dynamic mapping to amplify their performance, the new centralized navigation system will be a big support system.